Free your artistic mind with Anna Bergland


Anna Bergland just recently finished her freshmen year at Chapman University in Orange, CA. She has a certain fire in her eyes when you talk with her about her environmental passions and art. I'm particularly intrigued by her because I had the opportunity to be her resident advisor in my last year at Chapman. After stumbling across her artwork, I knew I had to pick her brain about her funky designs and I immediately became a fan. Here's a little bit of our conversation infused with pages of her work.

What inspired you to start creating art?

I get my creative genes from my mom. She has a bachelor’s degree in art history and has been a corporate art consultant for over 30 years now. She helps make the ideas in my head come alive, and I am extremely grateful for that. I think the reason I lean towards watercolor so much is because it resonates with my personality. I’ve never been much of a perfectionist. I accept my mistakes (because I make a lot of them) and I work with them in both art and life.


I also love variety. I want to see different colors, textures, patterns in my art. I want to talk to different people, live in different places, see different things everyday. I show that passion onto my paper when I paint. And when you add music into the mix, I can sit for hours and lose myself in the colors.

What environmental awareness issues are you passionate about?

The ocean has always been an important part of my life. Growing up in Southern California, it was part of our culture. I was into surfing for bit, then snorkeling, and then I got into stand up paddle boarding. I think overall, snorkeling had the greatest impact on me.


What is so interesting about our impact on the environment is that every problem is connected to the next. If you positively affect one aspect in the field, it will most likely benefit other environmental issues with it.


Although I’m very passionate about ocean and marine conservation, I think that helping one issue can help the next. Climate change, overpopulation, biodiversity loss, and wildlife conservation is just as important to me as ocean acidification, plastic pollution, overfishing, and environmental degradation.

What advice do you have for someone looking to become more eco-friendly?

We have so much control over this planet’s future. We control it each day, every time we make a decision. What we choose to put on our plate, where we choose to buy our clothing from, how we choose get to school and work. My advice is to keep in mind who you give your money to. Which industries are open to sharing their environmental cost? Which ones aren’t? Buy food at your local farmers market, you’re not only supporting local farmers but these foods have a much smaller carbon footprint because of their little travel. Buy clothes at your local thrift shop. You know the rest…Recycle, compost, reusable water bottles… I think this is where the change begins. In the little choices we make every day.

What are your favorite places to be in nature?


Anywhere I can get to! I’ve been on many great hikes in the Orange County area and I’m only 15 minutes away from some really amazing beaches, like Laguna. Big Sur will always have a special place in my heart. I’ve visited three times and each time takes my breath away. All my favorite memories have been from camping trips.

What's the most important lesson you've learned this year?

This is a tough one to answer because this school year has definitely been the biggest transition I’ve ever gone through, so I’ve learned a lot through the process. Leaving everything you’ve ever known for a completely new adventure forces you to focus on the person you’ve become, while trying to dip your toes into this new life. Fortunately, the people I’ve met at this school have been incredible and without even knowing it, they’ve helped ease this transition. Something I need to remind myself every day is that I am right where I need to be in this journey. It’s so easy to think of what could have been or what should be, especially in college where we’re given so many opportunities to choose from. This year has been a learning process for me and that’s completely okay. In fact, I’m grateful to be able to learn in such a supportive community.


"Look up and down. Believe in the unknown for it is there. Live in many places. Live with flowers and music, books, paintings and sculpture. Keep a record of your time, learn to read well learn to listen and speak well. Know your country, know your world, know your history, know yourself, take care of yourself physically and mentally. You owe it to yourself. Be good to those around you, and do all of these things with great passion. Give all that you can. Remember, life is short and death is long. - Fritz Scholder"